Conservative leadership hopeful Lisa Raitt was in Whitehorse April 10 to tell Yukoners about her plan for the party.
She addressed a small crowd of around 20 people at a Whitehorse hotel, telling them Canadians had to make Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a “one-term prime minister.”
Raitt served as Minister of Natural Resources in 2008, labour minster in 2010 and transport minister in 2013 under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
She is the second candidate to stop in Whitehorse after Maxime Bernier visited in mid-February.
There are 14 candidates vying for the leadership. Few have released a northern-specific policy. Former Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O’Toole released a northern platform last week that collected endorsements from Yukon Party MLAs Stacey Hassard, Wade Istchenko and Scott Kent.
While Raitt didn’t touch on her plan for the North during her visit, her campaign later released a list of priorities.
Her plan for the North centres on a “base-plus” approach infrastructure funding — instead of per capita funding — predictable transfer payments and continuing the mineral exploration tax credit.
Her plan also touched on healthcare and food security.
Raitt also talked about some of the Conservatives’ regular themes, including repealing the carbon tax and lowering taxes on businesses.
“What (businesses shouldn’t) have to think about is the stack of forms they have to fill out every single day that takes away from their ability to find more customers,” she said.
She heavily criticized Justin Trudeau for his failed electoral reform promise, for not appointing enough judges throughout the country and for his talking points about the “middle class.”
Delays in the justice system have resulted in charges dropped in several high profile cases in Quebec and Ontario over the past few weeks, including murder charges.
“Being the government, you don’t have the luxury of continuously consulting and not making decisions when the fabric of society is dependent upon it,” she said.
“If you don’t stop the Trudeaus after their first four years, the damage they inflict on the country just gets worse every single year.”
On marijuana legalization, she said she was concerned about the health impact on people under the age of 25 and people driving while intoxicated.
She called medicare broken, especially when it comes to supporting relatives of people with dementia, autism and rare diseases.
On the issue of crime, she stood by Harper’s tough-on-crime laws, which created mandatory minimum sentences for certain crimes.
“If you lay a hand on a child it’s fair to have mandatory minimum,” she said. “But we have to do a better job of two aspects, one is drug addiction, the other one is mental health.”
Asked whether she would be willing to work with Yukon’s three First Nations who don’t have a self-government agreement, she said she had talks with the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.
“All he wanted to hear from me was that I’d be willing to work with him,” she said. “I’d be wiling to work with anyone to make sure we got to the right place.”
Raitt said she has the most experience of all the candidates running in the CPC race.
“I have something that the rest (of the candidates) don’t have: I’m a mom from the GTA that grew up in Cape Breton,” she said.
Those are three segments of the electorate the Conservatives lost to the Liberals, she said: suburban women, Ontario voters and all of Atlantic Canada.
Several prominent Yukon Party members were also present Monday, including former Premier Darrell Pasloski, Hassard, and Yukon Party MLAs Patti McLeod and Brad Cathers.
Pasloski endorsed Raitt’s candidacy, saying she understands challenges of resource-based economy because she was raised in rural Nova Scotia and because of her cabinet experience.
“She is the kind of conservative that we need to lead our party,” he said.
Raitt reassured her fellow Conservatives that she could keep the party united.
“Kevin O’Leary may not be my choice for leader but he is a lot of Canadians’ choice for leader and you have to respect that,” she said.
She said many of the 14 leadership candidates ran to “raise profiles.”
Contact Pierre Chauvin at firstname.lastname@example.org